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After the First World War, thousands of war memorials
were raised in honour of local men and women
who lost their lives serving their country, and
who may have been buried or commemorated overseas.
New names were added after the Second World War.
These memorials were not initiated by the CWGC.
They were often paid for and maintained by communities
themselves and acted as a local focus for remembrance.
addition, many schools compiled a Roll of Honour
to remember all their ex-pupils who died.
Glenwood High School's Roll of Honour
is shown here.
Using this information and supported by the resources
of the CWGC you can:
- Assess your community’s contribution to the
- Set this in a wider context
- Consider the implications of loss for the community
The CWGC can provide:
- The casualty records of individuals named on the
memorial or Roll of Honour
(See the help section of Debt
of Honour Register description of
how to go about this)
- A home-town report from our database, on request.
For many locations it is possible for us to provide
a list of all the casualties from the area.
- Some places are just too big for this to be a
viable exercise (large towns and cities where casualties
run into the thousands)
- Some places are too small (although we could
generate a report there would be too few names for
you to work with)
- The list will not be exhaustive since it relies
on information from the next of kin at the time
of death – they may not have provided us with
the address, in which case his or her name would
not come up on a town-based search
It IS worth asking though, because we may be able
to suggest something instead.
- Local press archives, for obituaries and photographs
- Local regiments – these might still exist,
or at least have websites or museums to visit.
- Libraries and local history societies
- The data you acquire can be analysed and presented,
as demonstrated in the case studies in this
- Design and create a Roll of Honour for your
- Design a commemorative website reflecting
the impact of war on your community
- Plan your own remembrance ceremony. Think
carefully about it so that it is both appealing
to young people and respectful of traditions.
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in the United Kingdom
Few people realise that there are more than 170,000
war graves in the United Kingdom, in almost 12,500
cemeteries and churchyards.
Why are they there?
One of the founding principles of the CWGC was that
those who died on active service abroad would be buried
with their comrades. However, the families of servicemen
and women who died at home were allowed to decide where
they should be buried and this was often in their local
cemetery or churchyard.
They may have died:
- From their wounds, having been sent home to be treated
- In military training accidents
- From sickness or disease
- Many Battle of Britain airmen lie buried in S. E.
- The graves of Merchant and Royal Navy seamen, whose
bodies were washed ashore when their ships were sunk
in home waters will be found in numerous coastal towns
- Servicemen and women from other Commonwealth countries
died in the United Kingdom and there they were buried
How can we recognise them?
Some war graves are easy to spot, having the traditional
Commission pattern headstone.
Some are commemorated with private memorials so are
indistinguishable from other graves unless the inscription
Sometimes there are memorials in home cemeteries and
churchyards for men and women who are buried or
commemorated abroad. At the time, foreign travel was
beyond the means of many so they chose to create
an additional memorial at home.
What can they tell you about the history
of your local area?
In your area, there may have been:
- A military hospital
- A convalescent home
- A regimental depot
- An RAF Station
- A military training camp
which would account for war graves in your local cemeteries
- Visit your local cemetery or churchyard and
produce a report on the war graves present there
- Use the resources of the CWGC to find out
more about the individuals commemorated there
Back to War graves in the
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